Impatient with the Process

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

The year my husband spent abroad after graduating college, he taught for several months at a Bible school in the Fiji Islands. There was a missionary there who was much-revered for his wisdom and excellent teaching. After one particularly inspiring class, the students surrounded the godly man and asked: how long did it take him to prepare for such a profound lesson?

The old missionary smiled at the eager students. “Oh, about 45 years and a half-hour,” he told them.

Some things take time. A long time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a godly Christian. Yet often, we struggle with impatience at our lack of maturity. Why can’t we be wiser with our words? When will we ever feel confident in our Bible knowledge? Will there come a time when our foolishness is at an end?

When are we finally going to get it all together?

A look at scriptural examples of God’s time frame in transformation to maturity can also be discouraging. Moses spent the first forty years of his life in the Pharaoh’s palace. Then, after murdering an Egyptian guard, Moses fled into the wilderness. There he remained for forty more years. It wasn’t until Moses was the ripe old age of 80 that God called him to lead his people out of Egypt.

Then there is the story of David. The prophet Samuel anointed him to be the next king when he was quite young, still tending the family sheep out in the fields. While David knew what the future held for him, few others did. Life did not change quickly for David after the anointing. But eventually King Saul saw him as a threat, forcing David to flee into the wilderness. There he remained in exile for many years, continually pursued by Saul and his army. It was a long wait before God would finally fulfill His promise.

Even Jesus spent time in the wilderness in preparation for His public ministry. For forty days, He fasted and endured temptations flung at Him by Satan.

Clearly, preparation takes time. And it is in the wilderness that God often does His most important work in preparing people for their purpose.

Why the long wait in the wilderness for each of these future leaders? The writer of Hebrews gives us a clue (in reference to Jesus): “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:8-9 NASB).

Jesus perfected His obedience through experiencing suffering in the wilderness, as did Moses and David.

Being in the wilderness, with its isolation and difficulties, can have a valuable outcome. Through our experience there, we see the reality of just how much we need Him. When we do, it is only then that we are best equipped to do His work: our hearts fully open to His leading and ready to choose His will over our own.

Time in the wilderness grows us into much more effective servants. Paul learned this when dealing what he considered to be a thorn in his flesh. “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me,” he wrote. “And He has said to me, ‘My power is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NASB). Paul learned the power of Christ through his “wilderness” experience.

Are you suffering in the wilderness today? Hang in there. God is doing a work in you as you wait on Him. Someday you will be able to look back and see what He accomplished in you during that time. And you will count it worth the cost.

I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.                                                                                     Philippians 1:6 NASB

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Impatient with the Process – insight from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: How has God used a wilderness experience to transform you?

8 thoughts on “Impatient with the Process

  1. Thank you, Julie, for this great truth. We are currently in the wilderness and I am leaning a lot! I am sure I will have more life lessons along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure you will learn a lot. In every one of my wilderness experiences, God took me deeper with Him. I started writing because of my grief when my mom died! Never would have happened if I hadn’t gone through that terrible time. Praying that He will use this wilderness in both of you to draw you closer to Him, friend.

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  2. Thank you for this, Julie.
    I feel like I’m in the wilderness right now stumbling along through each day. My thorn in the flesh is grief over losing my husband in April and also being estranged from a sister who will not budge on mending our fences. I have reached out to her several times since she offended me. She says she’s not ready to put this fallout behind her. We both are Christian’s but I do not understand how she can say she is and not move forward with me. I give this so much head space that I’m not able to let her go until she reaches out to me.
    This is my wilderness and I do not know what God is trying to teach both her and me.
    Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sad to read this, Lana. Grief is a huge wilderness. As is a broken family relationship. God can heal anything–when two people submit themselves to Him. I prayed that for you this morning. And for your sister. The Holy Spirit is the great convicter of hearts. I hope that someday she will make a turn-around and the relationship will be restored. Hang in there.

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  3. Amen, Julie. When I was in my 20s, I knew that I would someday be a published book author. But God clearly told me that this would not happen until I had learned a while lot more! In the meantime, I practiced developing my give by writing for churches, non-profits, newspapers, etc., knowing that such a skill doesn’t just happen by itself. Now that I am running out of physical energy, the Lord as said, “NOW” you will write for Me. I strongly relate to the Moses example! Sheri

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  4. Julie, your devotion came on just the right day, and made me smile at God. I have been waiting on service people this morning and getting frustrated because of their slowness to arrive and get started with the projects at hand. God had been speaking to me about showing grace and forgiveness for my projects not being first on everyone’s agenda, ha. Yes, it does put it into perspective just writing it out. Waiting is hard in daily interaction with others as well as in our expectations from our Lord. He knows how to train us to wait with a grateful heart, and never seems to miss a teachable moment. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

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